Cutting Through the Fog

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One Monday morning, I was sitting at my desk. No work getting done. Clicking through the e-mail, letting myself get distracted. Chasing ideas, going down rabbit holes, opening up click-throughs that are a waste of time. 10:30, still no work done.

I spent a moment asking myself, “What is going on here?” I soon realized that the residue of a taxing weekend was getting in the way of productivity.

Our family had been carrying the heavy burden of caring for loved ones who are frequently in the hospital Critical Care unit. Days and nights spent in waiting rooms and sleeping in vinyl chairs next to hospital beds. Then limping back home to pick up the pieces of work and routine.

One thing I work with my clients around is self-care and balance. This particular Monday morning, I realized in a flash, that I hadn’t attended to my own balance, and that was why I had no energy to focus on work. I pulled out an exercise that I use with my clients and share in workshops, to re-frame and re-focus. If you ever have the “Walking Through Fog” experience, and would like to try this turn around technique, Get it HERE >>Focusing Exercises

A Poem for Your Pocket

Anything Can Happen
by Seamus Heaney

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Anything can happen. You know how Jupiter

Will mostly wait for clouds to gather head

Before he hurls the lightening? Well, just now

He galloped his thunder cart and his horses

Across a clear blue sky. It shook the earth

And the clogged underearth, the River Styx,

The winding streams, the Atlantic shore itself.

Anything can happen, the tallest towers

Be overturned, those in high places daunted,

Those overlooked regarded. Stropped-beak Fortune

Swoops, making the air gasp, tearing the crest off one,

Setting it down bleeding on the next.

Ground gives. The heaven’s weight

Lifts up off Atlas like a kettle-lid.

Capstones shift, nothing resettles right.

Telluric ash and fire-spores boil away.

“Anything Can Happen” from District and Circle by Seamus Heaney. Copyright © 2006 by Seamus Heaney. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

“Released”

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I love listening to the radio while I am cooking, cleaning, eating, driving …… but today, listening to “Fresh Air” with Terri Gross, I had to stop, sit down and REALLY listen. Barbara Streisand, talking about her life and career. Captivating in its entirety, there was something she said early on in the interview that made it personal. Talking about her newest album, entitled, “Release Me” of previously unreleased material.  “I’ve had these things for a long, long time — a collection of these unreleased songs — These were songs that I did basically in very few takes, a lot of them one take, because we ran out of time by the end of a session. … (in the old days I did my albums in )  basically three days.  We didn’t have any way to fix things, and there were flaws in some of these things, but I thought, ‘Let’s put this out. —- it’s OK to expose whatever flaws I might have thought were there. I kind of enjoy things now that I don’t think are perfect.”

Imperfect.

Of course, we don’t want to put sloppy work out there. But there is beauty in letting go enough to set our little boat free, to grace the waters of the world, to bring pleasure or value to others. Don’t hold back because you or your work isn’t “Perfect”. We’re not Barbra Streisand. Of course not. But you do have gifts to give. Go ahead, give them, flaws and all. The world will be listening.

Fail Forward

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 1.47.17 PMI think we Michiganders have an advantage……

We dutifully set our clocks to “Spring Ahead”. We circled March 20 “First day of Spring” on our calendars months ago. Looking out the window, Spring, Day 2. Snow flurries in the morning, temperature gage reads 24 degrees. But tomorrow could be another story, completely different. For all the complaining we do about the weather, we know that we have to be prepared. For anything. Snow today, sandals and flip flops tomorrow.

A lot like life? If we don’t know about tomorrow, we DO know about today, RIGHT NOW. Right now, what are your dreams, goals, desires and plans. A Coach colleague asks her clients, “When can you give yourself permission to ‘Fail Forward’?” I like that. Can you give yourself permission to do something, take a first step, even if you might fail? You will at the very least be moving in the right direction — forward …………. What do you think?

Permission Granted

I recently read a blog post by Dr. Brene Brown about her interview with Oprah Winfrey. “I was scared/scared!” she admitted. Sweaty, shaky, nervous kind of scared. Then she did a beautiful thing, she wrote herself a permission slip and tucked it into her pocket. It said, “I give you permission to be excited and goofy and uncool. Just show up and be seen.”

Where are you scared on the way to your good life? Write yourself a permission slip and tuck it into your pocket, tape it to your bathroom mirror, stick it to the console of your car. Give yourself permission to  ‘……….’ Mine reads today, “I give you permission to try something new and to be open to see where it goes. Then celebrate in the (f)act of trying.” I am making a commitment to myself to let go of the results.

Here is the evidence. Sometimes my blog entries fly and you say, “Thanks for that!” Sometimes they fall flat, (you show me mercy, and I say ‘thanks for that!’) Win or lose, there is always some value to the act.

Don’t hide or stay small. Write your permission slip now.

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What “Could” You Do?

“I believe that ‘should’ is one of the most damaging words in the English language. Every time we use ‘should’ we are in effect saying ‘wrong’. Either we are wrong, or we’re going to be wrong, or we were wrong. I don’t think we need more wrongs in our life. We need to have more freedom of choice. I would like to remove the word ‘should’ and replace it with ‘could’. Could gives us a choice, and we are never wrong.” (Louise Hay, from “Heal Your Life”)

Is your self talk filled with ‘shoulds”?

Resistance, Fear and Action

Steven Pressfield, champion of the creative process, knows what it’s like to wrestle with doubt, distractions, obstructions and life. In his book, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle, he lays it all out there, covering a quantity of sins. This excerpt about Resistance made me pay attention:

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.”

What would happen if you acknowledged your fear and stepped forward anyway?

Moving Through Fear

      I wrote a blog post recently about Persistence, springing out of the story of “The King’s Speech”. The piece of this story that I found to be so inspirational was the fact that the King’s fear of public speaking never went away, he just learned to move through it. (With the help of his brilliant therapist).

      Stepping into the same waters, I am inspired every time I pick up the book, “The Courage to Create” by Rollo May. Today’s gem centered around, ‘The Paradox of Courage’. Rollo May writes about the seeming paradox, ‘that we must be fully committed to the creative endeavor while also being aware at the same time that we might also be wrong.’ New ideas, hours spent pursuing them, weeks, months, bringing them into being. The end result may not be success in the way we envision it. What should we do? Stay stuck? Turn our back? (Fill in the blank ).  It takes real courage to persist. May writes, “Commitment (to creating) is healthiest when it is not without doubt, but IN SPITE of doubt.”

      Many people let fear undermine their desire for growth and change. When you are tired of fear circumscribing your life, the scales begin to tip. The commitment to grow in spite of mistakes is vital and will always lead to living more authentically. What small acts of creative courage can you commit to?

Priming Your Creativity

“Creative thinking can be primed with certain images and pictures.”

“Experimental social psychologists have conducted numerous experiments that demonstrate how behavior and performance can be “primed” by showing participants certain objects and pictures.”

People act differently depending upon their response to the object or picture.

How could you use this information, that you can “prime” yourself to be more creative, with certain objects or pictures? I’d love to hear your ideas!

(This post was prompted by an article on The Creativity Post by Michael Michalko)

To read the entire article, visit: http://www.creativitypost.com/create/priming_your_creativity